What to Buy Skincare Products The 11 Best Eye Creams of 2023 The Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment is a peptide powerhouse against dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness. By Lacey Muinos Lacey Muinos Lacey is a professional writer living in Southern California. She specializes in fitness, nutrition and various health topics. She not only has a passion for healthy living, but she also practices what she preaches with her longtime vegan diet. Her work has been featured in Health, Simply Recipes, VeryWell Fit, and more. Lacey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is also host of Guide to Vegan, a blog focused on a plant-based lifestyle. health's editorial guidelines Updated on January 28, 2023 Medically reviewed by Susan Bard, MD Medically reviewed by Susan Bard, MD Susan Bard, MD, is a board-certified general and procedural dermatologist with the American Board of Dermatology and a Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery. learn more Fact checked by Richard Scherr Fact checked by Richard Scherr Rich Scherr is an updates strategist and fact checker for Dotdash Meredith brands, including Health and Verywell. He is a seasoned financial and technology journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the Potomac Tech Wire for nearly two decades, and is a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun. He has also been a news editor for America Online and has contributed to the Associated Press and The Washington Post. health's fact checking process Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews How We Selected What to Know How Much to Pay Your Questions, Answered Who We Are We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Health / David Hattan Social media loves to tell you what you need — and also what you don’t. The latest product online gurus say is safe to ditch? Eye creams. Do eye creams really work, or do they just add an unnecessary step in your skincare routine? Contrary to online rumors, dermatologists don’t want you to throw out your eye cream just yet. “An eye cream isn’t a necessity, but so many people can benefit from using an eye cream,” says Nazanin Saedi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting. Since regular facial moisturizers can be too rich for the thin skin around the eyes, she says a product specifically formulated for that delicate area can be beneficial without being too overpowering. While it’s technically an optional step in your skin care routine, it’s one that can help improve concerns relating to dark circles, crow’s feet, and puffy eye bags. An eye cream does a lot more than just moisturize the skin (though that’s important, too). It protects some of the thinnest skin on the entire body, which is usually more prone to showing the visible signs of aging. While it can’t turn back time, an eye cream can help you see improvements. Through hydration and skin barrier support, eye creams also strengthen skin health. So, we set out to find the best eye creams. We asked dermatologists for their top picks and what makes them so great. With their insights, we were able to research effective eye creams based on key ingredients and how they benefit skin around the eyes. We also had a board-certified dermatologist on our Medical Expert Board review this article for medical and scientific accuracy. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment at Amazon Jump to Review Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream at Walmart Jump to Review Best for Dark Circles: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Wrinkles: Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream at Amazon Jump to Review Best Hydrating: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Eye Gel at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Puffiness: Clinique All About Eyes Cream at Amazon Jump to Review Best With Retinol: RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Under Eye Cream at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Eye Cream at Amazon Jump to Review Best With SPF: Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40 at Amazon Jump to Review Best With Caffeine: The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream at Walmart Jump to Review Best Overall Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment Alastin View On Amazon View On Alastin.com Why We Like It Its potent blend of peptides and botanicals supports skin elastin and collagen for skin firmness and function. It’s Worth Noting The pump can be tricky to dispense. When multiple dermatologists independently recommend the same eye cream, you can bet it’s going to be a good one — which is the case with the Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment. Vetted by several experts we spoke to, this eye serum uses a blend of peptides to support delicate skin around the eye area, targeting three of the most common eye skin concerns people face: fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness. “It’s specifically formulated for use around the eyes with sensitivity in mind, meaning it shouldn’t irritate the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Thomas Griffin, Jr., MD, of his favorite eye cream recommendation. “Its patented blend of peptides and botanicals cleans out degraded and damaged skin tissue and stimulates new, healthy elastin and collagen. This helps improve the skin quality of the eye.” The potency of peptides in this eye cream makes it a powerhouse for keeping skin elastin and collagen happy. Elastin and collagen are responsible for giving skin a bouncy, youthful appearance, but they’re also important for skin health. Elastin plays an important role in healthy skin function, specifically regarding wound healing, according to a September 2021 review in Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Collagen is just as important. It strengthens skin and helps fibroblasts to form and grow new skin cells, per the Cleveland Clinic. Since elastin and collagen production decline with time, using an eye cream with peptides like this one can help improve skin appearance and function. Price at time of publication: $105 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, peptides, mushroomSize: 0.5 fl ozFormulation: Serum Best Budget e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream Ulta View On Walmart View On Ulta View On Beallsflorida.com Why We Like It Chock-full of plumping and hydrating ingredients, this eye cream goes head-to-head with more expensive products at a fraction of the price. It’s Worth Noting Though it’s labeled as suitable for sensitive skin, some reviewers say it might be irritating. A full skin care routine can get pretty pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the most budget-friendly brands in the industry is e.l.f., and its Holy Hydration! Eye Cream contains two of the best ingredients for dull, dry under eyes — hyaluronic acid and peptides. Plus, it clocks in at $10. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the eyes, so it’s safe to use around the delicate eye area. It’s even found in some eye drops to moisturize dry eyes. While you should avoid getting any eye cream in your actual eye, the moisture-binding ingredient can help improve the appearance of dry, sunken under eyes that can happen over time as this area experiences a loss of volume. This is usually due to the loss of our good friend, collagen, and one of the first places to see this go is the under eyes. We’re also pleased to report that peptides make an appearance in this eye cream. When asked what ingredients to look for in an eye cream, our dermatologists recommended springing for peptides. While hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin, peptides help plump hollowness and lighten dark circles. Price at time of publication: $10 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, peptides, collagenSize: 0.53 ozFormulation: Rich cream Best for Dark Circles CeraVe Eye Repair Cream Target View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Ulta Why We Like It Ceramides and hyaluronic acid reduce the appearance of dark circles by plumping and strengthening skin. It’s Worth Noting The second ingredient, niacinamide, has been known to cause irritation in some people. You may feel like the dark circles that appeared one day under your eyes are a mystery, but what causes them is anything but. Genetics, fatigue, stress, and dehydration can all be potential causes of dark undereye circles. Age-related changes in your eyelids and facial tissues can also be factors, according to a review in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. More recent research suggests that hyperpigmentation and thin skin are also culprits. Whatever the cause, the right eye cream, such as this CeraVe pick, may help reduce the appearance of dark circles. Dr. Saedi recommends a hydrating eye cream to combat dark circles caused by dehydrated skin. “Look for eye creams with hyaluronic acid, such as CeraVe’s Eye Repair Cream,” she says. “It contains hyaluronic acid to increase the absorption of moisture in the skin and is rich in ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier.” Dermatologists are usually quick to recommend CeraVe skin care products because they’re typically fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and suitable for sensitive skin. This one is also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores or cause milia near the eyes. It’s even ophthalmologist tested, so it’s safe for use around the eyes. Price at time of publication: $20 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramidesSize: 0.5 ozFormulation: Lightweight cream Best for Wrinkles Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream 4.5 Skinstore View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Dermstore Why We Like It It’s recommended by multiple dermatologists for reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and users love the refreshing feeling of the cooling applicator. It’s Worth Noting It contains silicones, which may disrupt skin barrier function. If fine lines and wrinkles are your concerns, eye creams are a wonderful form of prevention. “Specifically for wrinkles around the eyes, Revision Skincare D.E.J. Eye Cream is my favorite,” says Dr. Griffin. “It’s a line relaxer, and its ingredients are formulated to further reduce movement in the lower lid skin that leads to lines and wrinkles.” It contains anti-aging ingredients we know and love, such as vitamin C, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. Dr. Griffin says the hyaluronic acid is especially beneficial for plumping the skin so existing fine lines are less noticeable. The luxurious formula is also powered by a blend of amino acids — the building blocks of protein that also make up the elastin and collagen in your skin. Amino acids target sagging skin and wrinkles that develop in mature, sun-damaged areas, according to a review in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Despite the laundry list of anti-aging active ingredients, the list also includes cyclopentasiloxane, a skin-smoothing silicone with some safety concerns. Some research suggests that silicones in topical cosmetics do more harm than good to the skin barrier. Price at time of publication: $114 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Amino acids, vitamin C, peptides, hyaluronic acidSize: 0.5 ozFormulation: Cream Best Hydrating Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydrating Eye Gel Ulta View On Amazon View On Dermstore View On Ulta Why We Like It The hydrating formula drenches dry skin, but the gel consistency is suitable for oily skin types, too. It’s Worth Noting It can linger on the skin for hours, and some don’t like the way it sits on the skin. Hydrating the dry under eyes is one of the best ways to improve the look of dark, dull skin on an area that often appears tired and worn. Even people with oily skin experience dryness directly under the eyes because the skin is among the thinnest on the entire body. This mega-hydrating eye cream drenches skin in moisture. It contains none other than a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid — a 50 percent complex, no less — to moisturize and soften the area. It also contains hydrators that are less common but no less effective, such as Pentavitin and AcquaCell. Pentavitin, also known as saccharide isomerate, is a plant extract with some impressive hydrating properties. It banishes dehydration for up to 72 hours but is still suitable for sensitive skin. AcquaCell is also a plant extract born from watermelon, lentils, and apples that moisturizes and plumps skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Keeping skin properly hydrated has its aesthetic benefits, but it’s also crucial for skin function and overall skin health. “Hydration” refers to water content, which supports the health of the epidermis and protects the body against the environment, according to research in Biomedical Optics Express. Price at time of publication: $43 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Pentavitin, caffeineSize: 0.5 ozFormulation: Gel Best for Puffiness Clinique All About Eyes Cream Clinique View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Ulta Why We Like It Caffeine and green tea perk up tired, puffy under eyes. It’s Worth Noting It’s free of parabens and sulfates but does contain artificial dyes. Like a cup of coffee for your eyes, this eye cream contains caffeine to perk up fatigued eyes. Dark circles are often caused by tiredness, and puffiness is usually most noticeable in the morning. Smearing on a pea-sized amount of this eye cream can give puffy under eyes the jolt they need to return to their normal state. The eyes are often touted as the windows to the soul, but the surrounding area can cause a lot of grief between the puffiness, sagging, wrinkles, and so on. Researchers explain why — the skin around the eyes doesn't have as many oil glands or as much collagen as the rest of the body, so it’s more easily prone to dullness, dehydration, and wrinkles. To perk up this problem area, researchers put caffeine-containing eye pads to the test and found that the ingredient improved skin elasticity and dark circles. Price at time of publication: $55 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Caffeine, green teaSize: 0.5 ouncesFormulation: Lightweight cream-gel Best With Retinol RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Under Eye Cream for Dark Circles & Puffiness Ulta View On Amazon View On Ulta View On CVS Why We Like It The retinol-based formula fights fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness. It’s Worth Noting Despite its proven benefits, retinol could irritate the delicate eye area. This one product is formulated to combat the troublesome trio of eye problems — wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness. Its secret weapon? Retinol. Retinol is up there with the likes of hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. When it comes to anti-aging, it’s the gold standard. And there’s research to back it up. Recent studies have shown that nightly retinol eye creams significantly improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness. It’s a triple whammy. Researchers suggest using it alongside a peptide eye cream in the morning for even more benefits. Dr. Saedi said retinol is one of the best ingredients to improve the appearance of under-eye fine lines and darkness, but it’s a double-edged sword. “High levels of retinol can irritate the eyes and eyelids,” she says. But this eye cream by RoC gets her stamp of approval because the concentration of retinol isn’t too high. Still, those with sensitive eyes or skin should be forewarned. Price at time of publication: $30 Product Details: Key Ingredients: RetinolSize: 0.5 ouncesFormulation: Cream The 12 Best Retinol Serums of 2023 Best for Sensitive Skin La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Eye Cream Ulta View On Amazon View On Ulta View On Lovelyskin.com Why We Like It It’s suitable for ultra-sensitive skin and those with acne or allergies. It’s Worth Noting It will moisturize under-eye skin, but it doesn’t have many active ingredients for brightening or anti-aging benefits. Up to 70 percent of women and 60 percent of men report having some skin sensitivity, according to a 2019 review in Frontiers in Medicine. Skin around the eyes, being so thin, is no exception to a little sensitivity. Even those who don’t normally experience reactions to certain ingredients may experience burning, stinging, or irritation from eye creams and treatments. If you struggle to find an eye cream that doesn't sting, this may be one you’ve been looking for. This soothing formula by La Roche-Posay is free of common irritants, including parabens, fragrances, dyes, and drying alcohols. It’s also tested on allergy-prone skin, free of pore-clogging ingredients, and tested by dermatologists. There aren’t many active ingredients in this simple eye cream, but it does offer niacinamide for antioxidant properties as well as squalane and shea butter to seal in moisture. If you’re looking for a solution for dark circles or fine lines, this one may not make a huge difference, but it will keep skin moisturized and free of irritation. Price at time of publication: $25 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Squalane, shea butter, niacinamideSize: 0.66 ozFormulation: Gel-cream Best With SPF Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40 Nordstrom View On Amazon View On Supergoop.com View On Ulta Why We Like It It contains more than the minimum SPF recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s Worth Noting The mineral-based formula doesn’t always layer well with other topical products, so it may be best as a stand-alone product. If there’s one thing dermatologists want you to do more of, it’s to remember to wear sunscreen every day. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays through sunlight and tanning beds, for example, is linked to skin cancer, and research shows that sunscreen application reduces this risk. You can and should apply sunscreen around your eyes, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, but applying an eye cream with built-in SPF may be easier. This eye cream contains SPF 40, which is more than the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendation for adequate sun protection. It uses non-nano zinc oxide, a 100 percent mineral sunscreen filter, to shield against UV rays. Mineral sunscreen is usually gentler on sensitive skin and less likely to cause eye stinging, but some reviewers note that the mineral formula can pill with other skincare and makeup products, unlike the chemical Supergoop! Formula. In addition to its sun protection properties, this eye cream is still that — an eye cream with other skin benefits. It contains wild butterfly ginger flower to protect against skin damage caused by blue light (hello, screen time) and a blend of probiotics and caffeine to improve dark circles and puffiness. Price at time of publication: $40 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Zinc oxide, wild butterfly ginger flower, probiotics, caffeineSize: 0.5 ozFormulation: Cream The 9 Best Blue Light Sunscreens of 2023 Best With Caffeine The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream Amazon View On Walmart View On Sephora View On Kohls.com Why We Like It It’s an affordable eye cream with prominent active ingredients like caffeine, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. It’s Worth Noting Some reviewers found it to be just average. Caffeine is among the best ingredients to look for in an eye cream to de-puff and fight fatigue, says Dr. Saedi. As its name suggests, this eye cream is powered by caffeine to reduce puffiness and target under-eye bags. It also contains anti-aging peptides and hydrating hyaluronic acid. For the price, this eye cream contains a surprising amount of beneficial active ingredients. It’s lightweight enough to be worn under makeup, and it’s suitable for both AM and PM skincare routines. While some expected more out of this product, the price can’t be beat for a budget-friendly eye cream with dermatologist-recommended ingredients. Price at time of publication: $13 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Caffeine, peptides, squalane, hyaluronic acidSize: 0.5 ozFormulation: Lightweight cream Best Drugstore Vichy Mineral 89 Eyes Serum Target View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Ulta Why We Like It It's oil-free, making it suitable for acne-prone, oily, and combination skin types. It’s Worth Noting The texture isn’t for everyone. This eye cream is suitable for a lot of groups. The hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist-tested formula is free of common irritations, such as synthetic fragrances, making it fair play for all skin types. It contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant people with dry skin flock to, but it’s oil-free, non-comedogenic, and non-greasy, so it’s also loved by those who lean on the oily side. The eye serum has a lightweight gel-cream consistency that sinks into the skin, plumping fine lines with hyaluronic acid and energizing tired eye bags with caffeine. While some find it unpleasant, many find it soothing. Vichy skin care products are often made with volcanic water, and this eye cream is no exception. It’s infused with minerals and antioxidants from French volcanoes, so eyes are erupting with hydration and good-for-skin nutrients. Price at time of publication: $24 Product Details: Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, caffeineSize: 0.51 ozFormulation: Gel-cream The 14 Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums of 2023 How We Selected To find the best eye creams, we turned to experts in skin health. We first spoke to the board-certified dermatologists at the Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting in Pennsylvania. Nazanin Saedi, MD and Thomas Griffin, Jr., MD shared their favorite eye creams for various skin concerns, such as fine lines and hydration. They based their recommendations on active ingredients, formulation, potential irritants, and clinical experience. The dermatologists also shared criteria on what constitutes a good eye cream, such as ingredients to look for and avoid. We prioritized eye creams that contain their top ingredient recommendations, such as peptides, antioxidants, humectants, and caffeine. They recommended avoiding anything with synthetic fragrances and irritants, so we kept that in mind during our research. With those criteria in mind, we took a deep dive into the eye cream industry. In addition to the dermatologist-recommended criteria, we considered the following factors: PriceFormulationSizeSkin typeBenefits What to Know About Eye Cream Ingredients to Look for When Shopping for Eye Cream The best ingredients in an eye cream depend on your individual skin type and concerns. Those with acne-prone, oily, and combination skin may prefer oil-free and non-comedogenic formulas, while dry and dehydrated skin types could benefit from oils and humectants. People with sensitive skin may also have a different idea of ingredients that nourish a delicate eye area. The dermatologists we spoke to recommend the following eye cream ingredients for their respective skin benefits: Peptides for elasticityHyaluronic acid for hydrationVitamin C for brightnessRetinol for improving fine lines and wrinklesCaffeine for de-puffingCeramides for a strong skin barrierNiacinamide for reducing inflammation Ingredients to Avoid When Looking for an Eye Cream “The skin on the eyelid is thin and sensitive — it’s easily irritated by ingredients that are harsh and drying and may be more sensitive to allergens that otherwise may not bother regular skin,” explains Dr. Griffin. So, it’s important to be mindful of ingredients that could cause irritation to this delicate area. According to the dermatologists we interviewed, the following ingredients could pose potential irritation: fragrance, drying alcohols, witch hazel, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and retinol and retinoids. In some cases, it’s more important to avoid overuse than to avoid specific ingredients. “It's not so much about what ingredients to avoid as it is about avoiding putting too much on,” says Dr. Saedi. A pea-sized amount is usually plenty for both eyes. Skin allergies and conditions can also influence the right combination of ingredients in your eye cream. Natural rubber, fragrances, preservatives, dyes, and metals can all cause allergic reactions from cosmetics, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. How Much You Can Expect to Pay for a Quality Eye Cream Like any skin care product, eye creams vary significantly in price. To meet all price points, we included options ranging from $10 to $114. Most fall in the $20 to $50 range, with an average of $37. Your Questions, Answered Is there an eye cream that actually works? We asked dermatologists to find out if eye creams actually work. “Eye creams do help to plump the skin, improve crepiness, improve some minor discolorations, and prevent the appearance of aging,” says Dr. Griffin. “However, they are best used as prevention rather than as a fix.” An eye cream won’t erase years of making facial expressions, and it won’t pause the natural decline of elastin and collagen that happens with age, but it does work to support skin health through hydrating and strengthening the skin barrier, which can improve the appearance of dry, aging eyes. What is the purpose of an eye cream? Eye creams, like your typical face cream, hydrate the skin around the eyes and seal in that moisture to correct and prevent dryness. They also form a protective barrier around thin under-eye skin so it’s not exposed to the elements. Depending on the active ingredients, eye creams can have other purposes. The purpose of an SPF eye cream, for example, is to guard against harmful UV rays. The purpose of a caffeine eye cream is to de-puff and energize fatigued under eyes. Who We Are Lacey Muinos is a health and beauty writer with specialized expertise in skincare. She regularly interviews board-certified dermatologists and reads dermatology journals to relay credible information on skin health. In her own skincare routine, she alternates between eye creams that contain peptides, squalane, and caffeine. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 13 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Baumann L, Bernstein EF, Weiss AS, et al. Clinical relevance of elastin in the structure and function of skin. Aesthet Surg J Open Forum. 2021;3(3):ojab019. Published 2021 May 14. doi:10.1093/asjof/ojab019 Cleveland Clinic. Collagen. 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Adv Biomed Res. 2015;4:10. doi:10.4103/2277-9175.148292 Kaufman J, Callender V, Young C, Jones P, Wortzman M, Nelson D. Efficacy and tolerability of a retinoid eye cream for fine to moderate wrinkles of the periorbital region. J Drugs Dermatol. 2022;21(9):932-937. doi:10.36849/JDD.6815 Farage MA. The prevalence of sensitive skin. Front Med (Lausanne). 2019;6:98. doi:10.3389/fmed.2019.00098 Sander M, Sander M, Burbidge T, Beecker J. The efficacy and safety of sunscreen use for the prevention of skin cancer. CMAJ. 2020;192(50):E1802-E1808. doi:10.1503/cmaj.201085 Ask the expert: Can you safely use sunscreen around your eyes? If so, what kind would be best? American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQs. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Allergens in cosmetics.